Helicopters (because of their ability to take off and land vertically, hover and fly forward and backward) are often used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircrafts and many other types of vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts cannot perform. Three very popular helicopters are the Boeing Ch-47 Chinook, Boeing AH-64 Apache, and the UH-60 Black Hawk. These copters are used mainly by the United States military but have been used in other countries.
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin engine, tandem rotor heavy lift helicopter. Its primary roles include troop movement, artillery placements and battlefield resupply. It has also been used for medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, fire fighting and even heavy construction assistance. A lot of details go into the Chinook including the wide loading ramp at the rear. It also contains three external cargo hooks and can top its speed at 170 knots. The Chinook is the heaviest lifting western helicopter and it got its name from the Native American people. The helicopter was developed in the early 1960s. Although its first flight was on September 21, 1961, the Chinook’s formal introduction was in 1962.
The Chinook has been sold to sixteen different nations, the U.S. Army and the Royal Air Force being the two biggest users. The CH-47 was seen in the Vietnam War where the crewmembers found it hard to learn at first. Later on changes were made and the CH-47 was seen again in Iran in the 1970s when the Iranian armed forces began using American military aircraft. In the years to follow the Chinook also played a part in the Falklands, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four blade, twin turbo shaft attack helicopter with a tail wheel-type landing gear arrangement. The helicopter started production in April 1986. It has a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew and a nose mounted sensor suite used for target acquisition and night vision systems. Underneath the aircraft’s forward fuselage, one could find a 30 mm M230 chain gear. The United States Army, the primary operator of the Apache, designed the AH-64 to replace the AH-1 Cobra. The Apache became the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations including Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands and Singapore. Other than the U.S. Army, other primary users are the Israel Air Force, Egyptian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Lastly, the UH-60 Black Hawk is also a four bladed, twin engine, and medium lift helicopter. Originally it was submitted as a design for the United States Army’s Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) competition in 1972. The Black Hawk was selected as the winner of the program in 1976 after a fly off competition with the Boeing Vertol YUH-61. The UH-60 was first used as the army’s tactical transport helicopter. Later on it was added to the field of electronic warfare and special operations. The Black Hawk served in combat in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, the Balkans and several other locations.